Real Estate Law
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Good evening. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.
Is title held as joint tenants or tenants in common?
No, you can not fence it off or occupy a half. Toy own an undivided share of the entire home.
You can however force your share to be bought out or force the sale of the other owner's share.
If real property is owned concurrently by two or more persons then any of the interested parties may bring an action to "partition" the property which, effectively, requests the court to physically divide or, alternatively, order the sale of the property and division of the proceeds. The action is called a Partition Action and for people with concurrent interests (currently existing) who have not "waived" the right to partition, this remedy is an absolute right. The demand for partition must be granted by the Court to such plaintiffs -- although the details of the order can vary widely. The "order" for the sale is typically an Interlocutory Judgment of Partition by Sale, either issued soon after the lawsuit is filed but sometimes not until all of the financial and legal issues are resolved.Partition actions must be filed in the county where the property is located. Any person with an existing or future interest in the property may bring the action.The court has broad equitable powers to protect the interests of all concerned, to prevent waste and to otherwise protect the interests of the owners. In a significant portion of the cases, one of the parties is in possession of the property, whether residing therein in a residential context or operating a business therefrom in a commercial context. There may be issues of fair rental value, payment of the mortgage, insurance, and maintenance expenses, or preservation and distribution of rental receipts. The court may require the parties to contribute funds to the operation of the property, to grant access to the property to various persons including the referee, and to make whatever other arrangements are necessary to preserve the asset and to separate the dispute over the property from the efforts to get it sold.
Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?
Every co-owner is legally presumed to share equally in the required maintenance costs of the property. So, yes, you can demand reimbursement from any co-owner who has not "carried their share", so to speak.
Any interested party may file a petition to commence probate and submit a will for consideration.
You can file the will and commence probate. You do not have to determine its legality. Let the court do that.
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I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not necessarily a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.